I’ve been couponing for a few years and have always used a coupon box method where I file the coupons by section in the store. Later, I started only filing loose coupons this way and would file the whole inserts by date. But now I am thinking I need a binder. I need my coupons with me at all times. But how do I do it? I need help, People! Leave me some comments, ideas, and tips on how you do it. WHAT are you doing to organize????
I like coupons. Actually, I have a higher regard than a mere liking of coupons. They’re golden tickets of goodness just waiting to be used at the right time. Just because you have a coupon doesn’t mean you have to use it immediately, though. Sometimes, you need it in your back pocket for those “just in case” moments. A perfect example would be a trip in the car to the doctor’s office, grocery store or any other place that requires time on the road in a part of the city you aren’t usually in or even in a neighboring city. We live in Shippensburg, PA. Our pediatrician’s office is in Chambersburg, PA, about 20 minutes away. Chambersburg has much more in the way of stores, restaurants, shopping centers and so forth. It has a Target and a Sonic (Strawberry Limeades during Happy Hour anyone?). Since moving to Ship just 10 months ago, I have constantly scoured my inbox and “Google-ed” for coupons that we could use whenever we have to make a family jaunt to Chambersburg (and any other town we might frequent). I signed us up for restaurants’ birthday clubs, always try to be aware of specific times of day where drinks are half price, have alerts sent to my phone for annual store deal reminders, etc. We don’t use all of the coupons and special offers we receive, but knowing they are there should we be headed in that direction allows for my family to have a fun excursion out of town (and we’re not wasting gas in order to use a coupon). Why consider something you must do as a chore that zaps the hours of your morning when it can be a fun family outing instead?
Another way of looking at the idea of having coupons for places of interest is that it will save you from shelling out more than planned on snacks because the doctor’s office was behind or road construction halted traffic for 45 minutes and now the baby needs a diaper change. Let’s call it Family Sanity Insurance, if you will. The next time you need to run errands, consider researching the area for possible gems that will help you out in a pinch and make your day a little brighter.
This same concept can be used for planned vacations where your family will spend extensive amounts of time in a vehicle. Look for all the possible places you could stop and see if any deals correspond with those areas. Better yet, have all the chain restaurants’ coupons handy in case you have to stop for potty breaks. Know of a specific place off the beaten path you want to visit along the trip? See if they have a website and look for a coupon. You could even call and ask for one. Also, travel during a birthday month and one of you may even be able to eat free or get a free dessert.
Change your mindset. Ask yourself, “I wonder what we can get for free or super cheap today?” You may be surprised when you get your answer.
Here’s a recent photo of my kids with my parents. They were visiting last weekend so we headed to Hershey, PA to visit Chocolate World. Yes, we used coupons.
My friend Clark Vandeventer and his wife Monica share a passion for traveling. They share this passion for traveling with their family on their blog, FamilyTrek.Org. I was recently asked by Clark to share a guest post in regards to using coupons to help create a family travel fund. I was also asked to share what our kids can learn from the experience. Check out my guest post here on FamilyTrek.Org.
Thanks, again, Clark and Monica for this great opportunity to share.
As you learned in Coupons! How Do I Start?, you have to create a decent stash of coupons to truly start jumping in on deals that are available to you. Once you have coupons, I highly recommend that you start leafing through the fliers for your local grocery stores, Walmart, Target and the drugstores like CVS, Walgreens and RiteAid. I circle anything that seems like a deal for my family that week–especially if it’s a product we buy constantly. I also circle things I know I have a coupon for that would make the product cheaper than what I pay regularly for (way cheaper, not just 20 cents cheaper, by the way). I may not need Goldfish Crackers this week, but if they are on sale for $1 I know this is the cheapest I can get them so I search for coupons and see how many I can buy. But, other things may not be discounted much, so I may still wait hoping for a better deal.
It is also extremely important to know each store’s coupon policy before you begin.
CVS–so far this policy has not been posted on-line, but I am researching how to get my hands on it. Others have posted it in the past, but I want to post the most current, if it is available. (There is a number to call: 800-SHOP-CVS or talk to your store’s manager for details.)
RITEAID (I think this one is extremely specific and helpful. Just about every question/situation is covered in this policy. Thanks, RiteAid!)
LOWES: coming soon
For those residing near me or within a few hours from me here in Shippensburg, PA, the following store policies may come in handy:
For those of you residing in other states, I have listed some of the more popular stores and their policies, but, of course, make sure to find out YOUR specific grocery store’s policy if it is not posted on-line. The customer service desk should be glad to help you.
MEIJER (Scroll down the page)
I recommend saving the policies on your computer and checking regularly to see if things have changed. A call to the store would solve this problem easily, before you set out. Also, having a printed copy in your coupon file is handy to have in case a cashier is not knowledgeable on their store’s coupon policy or it’s recent changes.
Obviously, there are many stores not listed here today. If you have a store policy to add, feel free to leave the name of the store and it’s coupon policy link in the comment section. I will add it to my post. Thanks!